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zyxe Blog

My sweetheart

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What a year. I think that's close to how long it's been since I've posted a blog :P I really wish GS would implement some of the features that made the site so great before the redesign, like blog feeds and stuff. I also noticed that all of my old blogs lost their comments and a lot of pictures which is truly sad because I used to review them from time to time and remember the good conversations I had with a lot of people before they left the site.

Anyway, I've been INSANELY busy! Whoa. No, like I mean the Keanu-style "Whoooaaaaaaa." My head is all spinny just thinking about having been here on the east coast for a year!

What have I learned?

  • I never thought I'd miss driving in California... but I was wrong :D
  • The bad winter weather makes people grouchy all year!
  • I like greek wraps with french fries in them!

That last one is important because I really learned that when my boyfriend FINALLY visited Rhode Island :) We had a really, really good time. I've been working so hard that I needed something for myself.

I took him to my company's hands on training lab for a tour, then to meet some of my friends at work.

Even though he's only been gone a few weeks, I miss him terribly. I can't wait to go see @GunnyHath again in just over a month, though!

In other news, I just got back from a 10-day trip to Windsor (UK), where I worked with a colleague to instruct a week-long course teaching non-engineers what field engineers in the company do. Both of us were field engineers for a few years before moving into training roles. It was a really neat trip, but I'm glad to be home! Totally jet lagged.

Jet.

Lag.

Lag kills.

Well mostly it just kills my sleep pattern :P

Time to finish some laundry and get to sleep!

Laterz,

-z

This weekend...

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was the most amazing weekend ever, full of flying noodle monster burps, a lucky chicken and a grape laser ;)

i am happy, too :)

Too soon!

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Moving day is soon... TOO soon! Tomorrow is my last day of slight normalcy, when I'll be getting my hair cut, then taking care of the things the movers shouldn't, like taking everything off my apartment walls and unplugging all unnecessary electronics. I'm going to keep my modem and router connected until the bitter end, though!

Here's how it's going down: movers come Wed morning to pack up my apartment and put everything on the truck; I'm not supposed to pack anything because they need to know what's in the boxes and all that so they can handle things properly since they assume full liability. I just have to be there for any questions, so I think I might play something benign like Minecraft. It should only take the crew 6 hours to pack up my <700 sq ft apartment, so that night I'll try to clean what I can and get the apartment ready for turnover.

My car also gets taken to be shipped sometime Wed, so my buddy is gonna help me out and hang out with me, clean and drop me off at my hotel. I owe him the best dinner ever! Then he gets off work early and is going to let me bribe him with iced coffee and breakfast to pick me up at my hotel, head to my favorite coffee shop for one last goodbye, then drop me off at the airport where I fly out to Providence in the afteroon.

I get in about 11:10pm EST, grab my rental car and head to the hotel where I'll be staying until I find an apartment for some sleep. Friday, the real estate person who has been assigned to me will take me on an apartment tour and hopefully I'll find something that's nifty, in my budget and available (sounds a lot like shopping for a girlfriend, eh? :?) If I don't see anything, we'll pick some more apartments to tour another time and I'll stay at the hotel until something comes up.

About 2 weeks after I ship myself out to RI, I head to Windsor to participate in a group to decide the future of Field Engineer training. I'm really hoping to have a place at least lined up, if not moved into, before then, but we'll just have to wait and see.

I do start work next Monday in my new position, so that will be interesting. I'll either have zero time to myself with finding a place and getting caught up on my new position, or tons of free time at my hotel to hang out and play games. I won't be taking my gaming laptop with me to Windsor, but I should have a new phone by then that will let me surf the internet more easily and keep in touch with people over WiFi.

Otherwise, I'm sort of freaking out! This is an amazing opportunity, but moving so far is scary. Oh well. Chin down, shoulders forward, and, wait for it...

 

CCCCHHHHHHAAAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:)

-z

Changes are Coming...

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Wow. When it snows, it pours.

Or something like that :P

Life has certainly taken quite a few turns in the last 10 weeks. There I was, status quo, working in the office for a week of reviewing various construction/fire protection/industrial equipment plans for clients when my friend, Stephanie, came up to me and asked if I'd seen "that email".

"That email" turned out to be one that changed my life. It was a job alert for a position to be a part of our corporate team of engineers who train all new field engineers who join my company. I probably would have missed it since I had about 200 unsorted emails in my Inbox at the time and a stack of plans piling up on my desk, but that simple question, followed by the confidence-boosting phrase, "I think you'd be good at that," sparked a fire of new possibilities for me.

Long story short, I'd been back to the east coast twice to help out with training, serving as a sort of volunteer mentor to help out with the standard training courses, and I'd loved it. While I didn't want to leave field engineering just yet, the possibility of teaching in a classroom and lab setting really called out to me. As soon as my boss got back from a business trip, I told him that I was interested in this new position--much to his dismay, as I really never thought I'd leave field engineering, and had sort of built my career around that stability--to which he agreed I could be a really good fit. I applied and was flown out for an interview. A week later, I was offered the job, and week after that I received the written offer which I accepted.

So, here I am, moving out to the east coast in just over 2 weeks. I am sad to leave the field, but the possibilities this job opens up are tenfold of the ones I leave behind. Sure, I'll miss working with Lucasfilm (now Skywalker Properties and Walt Disney--yes, we insure Disney, too), St. Joseph's Medical Center and IGT, along with a host of other amazing clients, but I will be working with a great group of people up by our corporate offices, with engineers who run the fire tests (they burn things and see what happens!). I'm getting a very nice raise, which will put me on the right financial path where before I thought I was doomed to just barely keep an even balance sheet. I will actually be able to plan for the future.

In addition, I've been selected to be on a group of 20-30 people who are going to help redesign our training program for engineers. While my new group was already going to update our training program in the next year or so, we are only in charge of how the material was going to be taught. This committee is in charge of what to teach engineers and when to teach it, and I'm honored to be a part of it. AND this committee is meeting in Windsor in September, so I actually get to go to England for a week! I had zero hopes for intercontinental travel due mostly to finances, so this is a real treasure to me.

Another bonus is that I will no longer be so solitary at work, and will get to see people on a more consistent basis. So much of field engineering is solitary, and while that can be nice with all its freedoms, it's tough for someone like me who has very few friends nearby.

The sad part of this whole deal is, of course, that I have to leave the friends I do have behind (physically, of course I plan on keeping in touch, but I rarely have that reciprocated so we'll see) and move 3,000 miles away. I've spent my entire life in California, so the Boston area will be quite a shock to my system.

That's a lot of change to handle in a short period of time. I can only pray that I handle it with grace and humility and do the best job I can for my company. The appointment is only for 3-5 years, so if I don't have any compelling reason to stay there, my boss has secured my job for me and I'll come back.

All of this has led me to be a bit absent from GS, which I don't think is a bad thing right now with all of the changes that are being so poorly implemented. I will take this as a good break to see if GS can get their act together and perhaps distance myself a bit. I'll still be around the forums, but I won't be posting much, especially not in the GSWRT. I have neither the time nor the energy, and I feel like my work is virtually useless there anyway. I thought being a Justicar meant something, but in all honesty, I'm really not sure what the point is anymore. Justicars were promised a lot in exchange for our work, and instead I have the AUB stripped from me (and the rest of the Soapbox Emblem holders) with pathetic explanations, broken links and no input as a Justicar. Not even a heads up. So, I think it's time to focus my efforts on moving, finding a new apartment and settling into my job and let this be figured out before putting much more energy into it.

Otherwise, I'll also be stunted on my gaming for quite a while. The bright side is that, with this new position, I may actually be able to afford a really nice new computer so that I can play more games and enjoy myself. A more stable schedule will also benefit my gaming life, so I'm looking forward to that.

Oh, any tips for how to deal with people in the Boston/Providence area and their inability to stay in the lane lines on the freeway would be much appreciated :lol:

ttfn,

-z

The Road to E3 is Paved with Good Intentions...

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and so is the road to hell.



E3 Preview Tune In


EXTRAVAGANZA!

 

With all the hype around this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), it's tough not to get excited and starry-eyed and filled with hopes and dreams and desires for the future of gaming. This year is especially important with the release of the "next-gen" PS4 and Xbox One at a time when gamers are voicing their disillusion towards gaming more than ever. A lot is resting on this particular E3, and developers are feeling the pressure to go bigger and bolder.

But what is the cost of these great expectations? As past E3s have shown, we often end up with bloated, overhyped extravaganzas that do little more than enrapture us in a world of gaming for the hour-long show, but then leave us with unmatched expectations when finished products are revealed. The developers mean well, but in the end, they seem to be shooting themselves in the feet.

Personally, I don't want huge conferences that bloat my expectations and leave me high and dry in the end. I don't want to see extraneous dances (unless they somehow get a Jensen's Safety Dance together), gratuitious booth babes at every station or teleprompter-driven pseudo excitement. What I'm looking for in this year's E3 is much more basic and equally more important: I'm desperately looking for something at E3 to restore my hope in console gaming.

 


E3 2006


THE HISTORY OF E3


The conference we currently call E3 started in 1995 with the unveiling of the PlayStation, showings of the Sega Saturn, Virtual Boy and the Nintendo 64. This expo had grown from what was previously the Consumer Electronics Expo (CES), of which the video game industry was treated like electronic's ugly and uncooth stepbrother. The expo quickly proved popular and took off, growing in size and importance. It became an industry-wide vehicle for showcasing new systems, concepts and games. And, just like any event in the entertainment industry, companies felt the pressure to keep increasing production value of their overall presence with bigger conferences, fancy booths and gimmicks. 2005 marked the first year E3 was broadcast on TV, increasing the event's accessibility and the public's interest; this particular E3 boasted the attendance of 70,000 people.

The conference took a downturn in 2006 with only 60,000 attendees, and the 2007 and 2008 expos were renamed to "E3 Media and Business Summit", where it became an invite-only event. This was an attempt to scale back the bloated nature of E3, but was a shock to many gamers, bloggers and some in the industry, likely since the change was so abrupt. The 2007 conference only reported 10,000 attendees, and dwindled to 5,000 for the 2008 conference.

In 2009, E3 was reverted back to its previous structure, and this revision was relatively well-received by much of the community. The extravaganza continued to grow to the near-hysteric proportions of where it sits today.

 


Mr. Caffeine


NOW PLAYING...

 

So, now we're here again, eagerly awaiting another E3. I remember watching my first E3 conferences in 2011 and fell into the hype only to be met with the lackluster systems and games that just didn't do it for me over this current generation. In full disclosure, since this gen was announced a few years ago, I've been extremely busy with work and have had a lot of personally difficult times which I'm certain have affected my ability to get excited about a lot of things, but I also think this last generation of gaming was a disappointment to me in many other ways.

I was the proud owner of a PS3 in 2009, but I had a hard time finding games I had enough desire to put forth the money and energy to enjoy and look forward to. It didn't help that 15 months into my ownership, my PS3 met with the YLOD and attempts at fixing it at home did not work (and I'm an engineer, so I gave it a good try with the reflow solutions). I didn't have the money to have it officially repaired, so I sold it for pennies on its original price. I also got a 360, but again, the limited number of games that excited me led to me having to dust the console off more than I turned it on.

These issues partly led to me falling more and more into PC gaming. There weren't enough great experiences for me to keep with consoles, and most games I truly wanted had a PC port anyway! The last game I was truly, wholeheartedly excited about was Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC), which had me counting down the minutes until I could get home to play, and gave me amazing dreams of crawling around in the shadows, dragging the many bodies I'd accumulated into ventilation systems...

I had tried again to get excited by watching the 2012 E3 streams, but was met with my own disillusionment when seeing the uncomfortable portrayal of an excited gamer executive by of Steve Balmer and an awkward Ubisoft conference led by Aisha Tyler (I know a lot of people thought she did great, but I felt her timing was off and it felt very awkward to me). And don't even get me started on Mr. Caffeine...

Even Last of Us garnered a less-than-expected review score here on GS, and this was a much-hyped game of the 2012 show. More recently, watching the Xbox One reveal and Don Mattrick's plastic performance did not bely my fears for the current E3. What I WANT to see are games that capture my attention and make me desperately want to get back into console games again. At this point, I almost don't even feel like the consoles themselves matter: the graphics are already good enough for me, the standard controllers haven't evolved and aren't different enough to matter, and I haven't been impressed by motion control enough yet to feel comfortable enjoying over my mouse and keyboard.

Even Nintendo has scaled back and decided not to present a massive conference, which has been met with praise from some in the industry. 2K also will not be appearing during this year's extravaganza.

What I'm most worried about with the current E3 is the best of intentions leading to overall disappointment and negative affects for the gaming industry in general. We don't need more studio collapses (or for EA to buy any more struggling studios, which sometimes leads to a wish the studio had collapsed instead of been sent to purgatory). We don't need massive increases in game prices. We don't need to be told how to use our consoles and what we want.

We need hope for the future, we need managed expectations and, more than ever, we need exciting, FUN games!

 

Social Awareness and GameSpot: Love it or Leave it?

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Yay!     OR     Enough


 

As you may have noticed, articles, editorials and news features having to do with various social issues surrounding gaming (or with a gamers' slant) have been making an upswing here on GS. These issue range from violence in gaming to mental illness and so much in between. As gaming becomes more of a mainstream form of entertainment, the gaming community is growing, as is our social awareness of such issues. And, with the increase in the gaming population, there is bound to come an increase in pieces reflecting on social issues and their perceived relevance to members of this community.

Some pieces have been met with good debate within the community; others have been scorned and readers have threatened to leave GS for posting what they consider information that is not newsworthy. Still, some have even been praised for bringing awareness to issues that may be embarrassing for gamers to bring up on their own and opening a dialogue for change, or at the least, a better understanding of the highlighted issue.


Tropes vs Women


 

The first topic that has really exploded across this site is feminism and gaming. It is also arguably the most hated, but is definitely one of the most polarizing. Don't worry, I'm not going to go on a rant about my actual opinion as I've done so on the numerous features on the site. Some of the more notable and commented-on pieces are as follows:

Dead Island sparks sexism flap (September 8, 2011 - 531 comments)

From Samus to Lara: An Interview With Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency (June 12, 2012 - 3724 comments)

Halo 4 devs speak out against sexism (October 30, 2012 - 700 comments)

Naughty Dog: games don't need males on cover to sell (December 12, 2012 - 454 comments)

Publishers said 'You can't have a female character,' says Remember Me dev (March 19, 2013 - 1131 comments)

Documentary on sexism in games hits Kickstarter (April 29, 2013 - 1366 comments)

A significant portion of the comments in these articles are decrying the fact that these pieces are even being published, that the issue of sexism in gaming either does not exist or that even if it does, there is no place on GS for this kind of piece. From my observation, the response to these articles was overwhelmingly negative.


Violence and Gaming


 

Next on the list is the debate about how the violoence portrayed in video games may (or may not) affect people who play such games. Various studies have been conducted and opinions run the full gamut, some saying they affect us and may desensitize us to others saying it can help us manage pain and improve other aspects of our lives:

GS News - Violent Video Games can Ease Pain (September 11, 2012 - 134 comments)

Senator introduces bill to study violent games (December 20, 2012 - 1183 comments)

N.J. Gov: violent games must be examined (January 9, 2013 - 1447 comments)

Obama calls for game violence research (January 16, 2013 - 1298 comments)

Former FBI profiler says games do not cause violence (February 25, 2013 - 261 comments)

Study: Violent games can desensitize players (May 10, 2013 - 806 comments and counting)

This series of pieces seems to draw more of a debate than a simple "GTFO of GS". There doesn't seem to be as much of an internal argument between users as there are just differences of opinion which are handled in a more respectful manner than the issue of sexism and gaming.


Depression and Gaming


 

Lastly, GS has gone even deeper into gamers' psyches by promoting a feature on gaming and depression and mental illness in regards to the gaming community:

Survey examines links between gaming, behavior (November 15, 2010 - 170 comments)

Study links pathological gaming to depression, anxiety in kids (January 17, 2011 - 606 comments)

Light in the Darkness: Dealing With Depression in Games (February 8, 2013 - 71 comments)

Depression Quest: A Retrospective (February 19, 2013 - 25 comments)

Video Games vs. Depression (May 3, 2013 - 1888 comments)

The last link, a relatively short documentary which was featured on the front page, has garnered a LOT of support. Comments on pieces in this group tend to be more positive and supportive in nature.


It seems to me that the most negative feedback comes from pieces where users feel judged or stereotyped themselves, which is no surprise: nobody likes to feel like they are being judged in a negative light. But pieces that analyze parts of the community and offer insight without judgement, such as the depression pieces, are welcomed overall, mostly because they are more helpful and not telling the user they need to change, or that the industry they hold so dear needs to change. Personally, I, too, enjoy these kinds of social awareness issues the best because I feel they can impact the most users in the most positive way.

I actually enjoy watching GS grow up and report on social issues. I feel that there is more than enough content on the site to the point that if you absolutely hate mixing social issues with gaming, you can find plenty to read and keep you busy without having to bother with content you really don't like. It also baffles me why so many people comment with such vitriol when GS does tackle these issues. I understand the voicing of the opinion that GS should not have these kinds of pieces on the front page, but what I mostly see are people trolling such pieces and massively increasing post counts on pieces they think shouldn't exist anyway, which is sort of defeating the purpose--but that's beside the point.

So, how do YOU feel about how all of these social issues are being represented here on GS? If you love it, what other ideas would you like to see tackled or acknowledged? If you would rather leave it behind, what would you like to see instead, and do you feel the presence of these issues truly undermines your ability to enjoy the rest of the content on the site?

-z

Gamers are More than the Sum of Their Killcounts (Walk it Off/Charity Edition)

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FPS Doug BOOM HEADSHOT

FPS Doug: Poster Child of Our Gaming Community!


 

Boom, headshot... BOOM headshot.... BOOM!!! HEADSHOT!!! From the recent publicity attempting to link violent acts in the world to video games, FPS Doug (WARNING: link contains strong language) may as well be the poster child for gamers worldwide in the eyes of the media*.
 
Whether you believe the hype or not, playing video games have also been linked to some very positive effects. Several studies have shown that video games can ease pain in patients, and that violent video games may increase pain tolerance in some people. My mother, who is in chronic pain due to various conditions, has personally found that Farmville helps her relax and improves her pain management.

Then there are all of the conflicting reports from the media at large, showing that 89 percent of parents believe game violence a problem but that a former FBI profiler says games do not cause violence. So, what to believe?

 


Cody Thompson: Walking Gamer

Enter Cody Thompson: Walking Gamer




Whichever side you're on, there's one gamer who is breaking this stereotype. Enter the Walking Gamer. Cody Thompson is on a mission for both himself and for charity. He is going to walk across the country, from North Carolina to California, on a journey that is to start this weekend and will take an estimated 8 months to complete. During his travels, he will be dependent on the kindness of strangers for lawn space on which to pitch his tent, donations for food and supplies during his travel and support during the difficult months he faces away from his home and his wife.

So, who is this Cody Thompson? In the spirit of full disclosure, he is the husband of one of my sister's dearest friends, and that's how I first heard of his journey. He is an avid gamer and has been since the age of 4, is a former EMS dispatcher and has a bone to pick with DLC--I won't repeat here what he had to say about the horse armor DLC for Oblivion--and he was kind enough to allow me to interview him personally for this blog. (I found out the hard way that he also hates being called "Mr. Thompson", which I did when I first requested the interview and subsequently made him twitch something awful...)

See, when Cody was 4 years old, he had a serious eye disease which required surgery. As a part of his recovery regimen, his doctor actually prescribed video games. With that, his parents got him an Atari. It's no surprise that the charity he is bringing along for his walk is Child's Play, an organization that provides various toys, books and video games to hospitalized children to try to make their stay less arduous and improve their spirits and recoveries.

He still remembers his first games, Pitfall! and River Raid. He remembers the Christmas his mom scraped together enough to get him the NES with Super Mario 2. In true gamer form, Cody will be bringing his 3DS along for the walk, with an assortment of games (if you donate enough to his Indiegogo campaign, he will even send you one of his used games from his walk!). Cody sequestered his 3DS for the last few months so that the games would be fresh and new for his journey, so he has spent his gaming time lately playing a lot of his console and PC games in the meantime (DMC, Starcraft 2 and others).

 


Cody's Companion

Cody's Trusty Walking Companion Will Be His 3DS


 

The idea to walk across the country originally came from his love of J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Hobbit" which introduced him to a world of adventure and self discovery he wanted to impart into his own life. He says it is only natural to bring a charity along for the ride, especially since Child's Play is so close to his own heart.


http://cdn1.screenrant.com/wp-content/uploads/bilbo-frodo-journey-fellowship.jpg

Bilbo vs. Frodo: Tough Choice!


 

For those of you wondering where he stands on the issue of Frodo vs. Bilbo, when asked the proverbial question, "Frodo or Bilbo?" Cody replied, "My answer is............. [darn], that is not a fair question really...the Hobbit is such a different tone than LOTR. Bilbo is having this adventure. He is outside his comfort zone, and I suppose I relate to that more for this walk. Frodo knows he is carrying the source of all evil around his neck, and well.... that [messes] a dude up." So now you know. (Thanks to GunnyHath for suggesting that question!)

While not the focus of his journey, Cody is well aware of how the gaming industry and community is being perceived, and he has his own ideas about games, violence and the roles of parents in all of this. When asked about his thoughts on the connection between violent acts and video games, he responded, "...the issue with games and probably movies is parents think it is just a game, so they get it, no biggie. Let's hand Darksiders over to a 12 year old and not pay attention."

He also recalls how his mom handled video game violence with him as a kid: "I grew up playing violent games. My mom got me Mortal Kombat 2 for the SNES but she watched me play it and she made the call if she thought it was appropriate for me to play." He does not believe in government censorship, and instead puts duties on the parents to make the call. To all who believe that violence in games has a widespread effect on gamers, he replies, "We are going to see a HUGE boom in America's farming community any day now. Farmville was THAT popular." I guess my mom is going to become a farmer. She already has a huge garden at home.... hmmm... I see truth in this sentiment already...

With all of the negative publicity the gaming community faces, it's nice to see something so positive coming from one of our own. So the next time somebody scared of the world and looking for a neat and tidy way to explain the violence in the world blames you, the gamer, just tell them to walk it off.

Well done, Mr. Thomps--er, Cody. Safe travels on your longest journey.

Walk on, gaming brother. Walk on.

 


WalkingGamer



Interested in donating to Cody's cause? Donations in his honor can be made to Child's Play by clicking here. Donations will first cover his expenses for the walk, and all unused proceeds will then go directly to Child's Play.

You may also donate directly to him to cover his expenses, which he estimates will be $8,000 by the end of his trip, at his Indiegogo site.

Cody will be updating his Walking Gamer site with blogs during his travels, but you may also connect with him via other social media sites below:

Walking Gamer Facebook

Walking Gamer Instagram


*It should be known that I think FPS Doug is about the most hilarious YouTube video ever, I'm not knocking him in any way, shape or form ;)

The demise of 32

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Ahh, 32. You were an interesting year. Love and self lost and found, games played, new states traveled.

New drinks drank, too ;)

Homemade Apple Pie Last Night for Me and My Friend

I guess you can say this is my year in review.

32 was a year of great anguish personally, but also of great growth and garnered strength. Over the last year I got to watch me stand up for myself both personally and professionally. I really "grew a pair" in all aspects of my life, which was refreshing to realize. When I look back, I really see this as the year things changed in a big way.

And not just personally, but gaming as well. I had devoted so much energy to things that were not productive before that I didn't really have enough emotional energy to game (I hate losing so often if I'm stressed, I just won't bother trying something new until I have some energy).

I realized how much my life correlates with gaming. Heck, I've been gaming since I was 7, which now would be 26 years ago. Gaming has been a big part of my life and is a lot like my dining room table or fingernails: you can take one look at how it's organized, finished, polished or straightened and know instantly my personal state of affairs.

My road to gaming recovery began with Terraria and really took off with Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Both were recommended to me by my Steam friends and did not disappoint. In days where I could barely function, I would sit my gaming laptop in the livingroom and dig dig dig until I found peace. Then came DE:HR, and I found myself truly enjoying gaming again. I hadn't really ever gotten into stealth because it tenses me up,  but this game is a true masterpiece and hooked me on the presentation, story and especially the fun and addictive gameplay. It got me through the worst part of my personal issues and helped me find what I had been missing for the last 4 years or so.

I got to take my gaming around the west, from Portland to Reno to Modesto to Salt Lake City. It kept me company and gave me new friends (thanks to you who stuck with me over my "issues" and gamed with me and gave me something to smile about). I got a little of my competitive edge back, which feels nice. I used to be the person to contend with on Perfect Dark for the N64. I wasn't tournament-worthy, I was the one that friends would find other friends to pit against while we had an event and they all watched. Good times :) But for years, I hadn't been able to compete because losing made ME feel like a loser, and a lot of the fun and thrill was lost due to stress and anxiety in other areas in my life.

One game I've been slowly getting into is Battlefield 3. I get to play with a great friend from here and he's coaching me and it's a blast. I've never really played a more realistic shooter, and definitely not online, so it has been a rather harsh learning curve. I've only played 2 separate 90-minute sessions, but was pleased to end 5th out of 22, albeit on the losing team but I'll take the victory!

Otherwise, other notable games of this year included Battlefield: Bad Company 2 single-player campaign which was fun start to finish; Minecraft, which I have a blast on my friend's server, he's always doing nice things for me there (and in real life, thanks, you know who you are!) and is a total fun person to hang with; The Longest Journey, which I will finish someday, even though it is a bit long but hey no false advertising there; Borderlands and Borderlands 2, I haven't had that much fun with co-op in a while and got to know people through both games and shared much, much laughter.

I also started getting back into a bit of console gaming with Halo 4, which has been super fun to play with my buddy 2 blocks down, the one who came over and shared some of that Apple Pie (pictured above) and played with me yesterday, my last day at 32. Alcohol be damned, I have been getting a lot better at it and am starting to have more fun.

I hope your gaming year has treated you well. Here's to a fresh start with 33!

 

33 is here to stay! For a while, anyway...

-zyxe

:)

What Gamer Are You? (Compilation and Discussion)

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Gamespot recently released a video series called, "What Gamer Are You?" I found it to be a fun 4-video series that does what everyone loves: tells us stuff about ourselves! Seriously, though, what it does is categorizes us into the different "types" of gamers based on gameplay traits that transcend genres and specific games. I have compiled the videos below and written out the gist of the different kinds of gamers since I didn't see the list written down anywhere, and I find it useful to have in one spot.

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Read below and tell us all: What Gamer Are You?


Part 1 -Completionist,Speed Runner, Exterminator, Extrovert

Completionist - map exploration and 100% completion/trophies/items, often replays games or replays from end of game saves to get all endings. (Compatible with: Exterminator)

Speed Runner - goes strictly for end-game win and will get through any means; typically ignores NPCs, dialogue and story and just wants fun gameplay through and through preferably fast-paced games. (Compatible with: Extrovert)

Exterminator - everything must die, no matter how big or small, not as into dialogue or story; prefers FPS and hack-and-slash. (Compatible with: Completionist, Extrovert)

Extrovert - multiplayer, guild, groups prevail as socializing is the goal; genre is not as important. (Compatible with: Completionist, Exterminator)

Part 2 - Reader, Builder, Introvert, Analyst

Reader - reads every guide, data pad, dialogue and gathers all information; prefers lore-rich worlds usually found in older RPGs. (Compatible with: Completionist, Analyst and Introvert)

Builder - creationist, prefers simulation games where management is important, and creating items with crafting and tools in other games. (Compatible with: Analyst, Introvert)

Introvert - typically solos, sees gaming as more or a relaxing habit and enjoy exploring worlds to their heart's content. (Compatible with: Reader, Analyst and Builder)

Analyst - puzzles are the main draw to games, manipulating physics and problem solving; enjoys tactics (Compatible with: Introvert, Builder)

Part 3 - Ghost, Hoarder, Difficulty Snob, Min/Maxer

Ghost - master of stealth and disguise, often plays as a thief or rogue; prefers tactics over outright gun play in many genres. (Compatible with: Analyst)

Hoarder - gathers all resources, sometimes at the expense of teammates in multiplayer co-op games; rarely spends money unless it furthers their loot. (Compatible with: Completionist, Builder)

Difficulty Snob - only plays on the toughest difficulty; does not like games that cater to the masses and dumb things down. (Compatible with: Exterminator)

Min/Maxer - RPGs are the main genre where math reigns supreme; will explore other genres where customization of stats is exploitable; can delay groups as items are thoroughly analyzed prior to moving on with the game. (Compatible with: Completionist, Hoarder)

Part 4 - Character Builder, Ultimate Evil Doer, White Knight and the Apologist

Character Builer - tweaking and completely customizing their character's appearance, back story, anything that CAN be tweaked. (Compatible with: Builder)

Ultimate Evil Doer - enjoys all manner of mayhem and cruelty, will often destroy NPCs and their weapons do not discriminate. (Compatible with: Exterminator)

White Knight - always the paragon, white knight, displaying justice and charity; completes all companion quests and may sacrifice self for others, saves everyone if possible but can get themselves into trouble doing so. (Compatible with: Reader and Extrovert)

Apologist - trudges through all games of chosen series even if undesirable. (Compatible with: Completionist)


I fit well into several of the gamer types.

White Knight: I can't bring myself NOT to help someone in need in a game, and I will often try to save every possible character from harm.

Exterminator: I have a compulsive tendency to clear areas of all enemies, but this is also because I like to explore in peace. That, and I kinda sorta like shooting bad people in the face. A lot. I still care about dialogue and story, though.

Character Creator: if it CAN be tweaked, it WILL be tweaked!

Completionist: I have a penchant for exploring every inch of a map, but don't typically go for 100% on trophies and items because I don't have time in real life. I will often also end up grinding away at an RPG and end up getting bored and quitting for a while, at which point I feel compelled to restart the whole game. I have done this with Star Ocean: Till the End of Time about 4 times now after 50-100+ hours on a game run... I still haven't finished it... But I will! Someday.

Hoarder: I need to grab every weapon I can carry, and the only real reason to use God Mode in Elder Scrolls for me is to pick up every weapon so I can drop them off at home. I do spend money a lot, though, but that's a personal issue. I really like shiny stuff. And don't get me started on shiny stuff on sale...


Of course there is no "one size fits all" way to categorize gamers, but I did enjoy the analysis of the compatibility of various types of gamers. What I really appreciated in this series is the lack of attention to the notion of "hardcore" and "casual" gamers. Personally, I believe that if you enjoy gaming in whatever form then you are a "gamer". Sure, some are more outspoken and spend more time on this hobby than others, but typically the differentiation is typically used to put down people who do not game every waking and free moment, or take gaming so seriously that their ego depends on it. Whether you categorize yourself within either of these two roles, you will typically find that you will fit into several of the categories from this series.

I think it would be nice to see this integrated with the Gamespot Players Network (GSPN), which does have its own gamer categories, but I think I prefer the series' analysis to the ones registered on GSPN, especially when it comes to compatibility. I thought that was pretty neat! I'd also like to see what gamer types do not get along per this analysis, because I know that I don't get along well with Speed Runners if I haven't played through a game myself, Ultimate Evil Doers in general, Difficulty Snobs because I just don't have the energy or Apologists because if a game isn't good, I don't want to play it (again with the lack of energy thing).

Did you guys watch the series? What did you think?

-z